SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The UC Santa Barbara men's basketball team is ranked 17th in the season's first CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top-25 the website was announced Tuesday.
The Gauchos are led by junior forward Alan Williams. The Phoenix native was selected to CollegeInsider.com's First Team Lou Henson Mid-Major Preseason All-American Team and he was named CollegeSportsMadness.com's Preseason Big West Player of the Year. In 2012-13, despite battling injuries, Williams had one of the finest all-around sophomore seasons in school history and was a First Team All-Big West choice. He became the first Gaucho in 23 years to average a double-double as he finished at 17.1 points and 10.7 rebounds per game.
UCSB also returns numerous other key players, including senior guard Kyle Boswell, the reigning Big West Sixth Man of the Year who averaged 13.0 points per game and made 78 three-point baskets. A pair of sophomore wings, Taran Brown and Michael Bryson, each had outstanding moments last season. Brown averaged 11.1 points and 5.3 rebounds per game while making a freshman record 58 three-point baskets. Bryson averaged 8.4 points and 3.5 rebounds per game and set a Gaucho record for points by a freshman when he poured in 29 against Pacific in the Big West Tournament.
In addition to the key returnees, UCSB will add swingman John Green to the mix. One of the most talented players on the team, Green has missed the last two seasons with injuries, but is practicing at full strength. Another talented player, guard Aamahd Walker, redshirted the 2012-13 season but is in the mix for playing time in the backcourt in 2013-14.
Additionally, the Gauchos have added two outstanding point guards. UCSB will look to junior Zalmico Harmon and freshman Eric Childress to run the show this season. Harmon was the Western State Conference Player of the Year at Ventura College in 2013 and Childress was a First Team All-CIF selection out of Leuzinger High School.
The Gauchos are the only Big West team ranked in the poll, but Long Beach State and UC Irvine are each receiving votes. Wichita State, which advanced to the Final Four in 2013, is atop the ranking. To view the entire Mid-Major Top-25, click here.
UCSB will tipoff the 2013-14 season on Sunday, Nov. 3 when it hosts Cal State East Bay in an exhibition game that will begin at 2:00 p.m. in the Thunderdome.
Great season ticket packages are available for the Gauchos. The non-conference schedule includes Cal, which will be making its first appearance in Santa Barbara since it helped christen the Thunderdome in 1979, as well as old rival Utah State and 2013 NCAA Tournament participant South Dakota State.
For more information or to purchase season tickets, drop by the Ticket Office in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building on campus, call 805-893-UCSB (8272) or click here.